“I just want to play football as normal” – Jordan Henderson not an advocate for VAR

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Jordan Henderson admitted he would rather play without VAR after it once again became the talking point from Liverpool’s draw at Brighton.

The use of VAR in the Premier League has been a constant source of debate and conjecture, with its use often emerging as a talking point each weekend – and not as a positive.

Arguably, the technology is not to blame, rather the referees who oversee it and apply the rules – with slow-motion replays and the confusion over ‘clear and obvious’ the major bugbear for many.

And on Saturday, Liverpool were once again thrust into the VAR spotlight after a penalty was awarded to the Seagulls in stoppage time after referee Stuart Attwell consulted the pitch-side monitor.

In real-time viewing, he didn’t give Andy Robertson‘s challenge on Danny Welbeck a second glance until he was asked to review the footage – and from there the decision seemed inevitable.

Both Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane had goals chalked off for offside, the latter more obvious than the former, and while the captain was careful in his selection of words as to not be punished, he gave his view on the use of VAR.

“I can’t really speak about it because I’ll get myself in trouble,” Henderson told BBC Sport. “If they’re offside, you do the line thing, then what can you do?

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 28, 2020: Referee Stuart Atwell looks at the VAR monitor before awarding Brighton & Hove Albion a penalty during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the AMEX Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

“The third one, I don’t know, it’s not a penalty. You can think I’m biased but if you ask four or five or their lads they will say the same thing. They said it walking off the pitch.

“You feel as though there are a lot of decisions that go against you but that decision for me today is baffling.

“I don’t want to speak for anybody else but in my opinion, I would [want to see it go],” he continued. “I just want to play football as normal.

“I saw Kevin De Bruyne saying in an interview they have changed so many rules we don’t know what they are anymore. That for me is a big problem.

“We are talking about instances all the time and not the football. In my opinion, I would rather play without it, yeah.”

It’s a feeling no doubt shared among fans, with its application largely inconsistent, while also robbing the instantaneous reaction from supporters.

And the fact that it is consistently a major talking point for players, fans and pundits alike speaks volumes.

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